Swiss council denies Kosovo family citizenship because they wear tracksuit bottoms

Despite living in Switzerland for more than a decade and speaking German, their attire was deemed not very Swiss

Switzerland, Visa, Citizenship, Naturalisation, Tracksuit bottoms, running clothes


Reports have emerged that the members of a family of Kosovar family were denied their application for Swiss citizenship, in part, because of their partiality for wearing tracksuit bottoms. Resident in the country since 2005, the Halili family had their formal application turned down by a committee made up of residents from the village of Bubendorf, with one complaint arguing that they were often seen walking around in jogging pants rather than jeans.

The four members of the family, all German speakers, had passed a number of measures on their way to Swiss citizenship, showing a passing level of knowledge of the local customs and geography. But their attire and the fact that they do not habitually say hello when passing others in the village were reasons given to deny them a passport.

“The arguments against the naturalisation were purely emotional,” committee president Roger Frey told a local newspaper, The Local reported.

The decision to deny the family citizenship has drawn criticism all over Switzerland, with an expert in the naturalisation process telling Le Matin newspaper saying: “When I was in the process of applying for citizenship, I was more concerned with the history of William Tell than my clothes.”

Those wishing to acquire Swiss citizenship in the Basel-Land canton must prove themselves capable of speaking German to a recognised standard and show integration into Swiss and regional customs. Each canton is responsible for the process, but local governments and councils within the administrative borough lead the “integration discussion” and vote on the final decision.

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